Not unusually, I had a rough time this morning with one of my boys, who argued with his brother before we left the house, to the point where I could hear the shouting while in the bathroom with the door closed and the exhaust fan on. He continued to complain all the way to school. At one point, I looked down to see tears streaming down his face. I managed to remain patient, but I was perfectly happy to drop him off at his classroom before heading to a PTA meeting.
During a slow moment in the meeting, I checked my email and saw an incredibly sad message from a friend, letting me know that the very young daughter of a mutual acquaintance (let’s call her M.A.) had been killed in a car accident over the weekend. Ever since reading that message, I have been vacillating between immense sadness and tremendous gratitude.
Sadness for our acquaintance, who must be in pain beyond my imagination.
Gratitude, for my own children who are healthy, thriving, and – for the most part – happy.
Sudden loss like this, or when my friend’s husband died a few years ago, puts all of the “little things” in perspective. And I need to remember that when my kids want something unreasonable and respond to my refusal to give it to them by complaining that I don’t love them (as happened this morning). Or when they groan upon seeing the healthy dinner I just spent over an hour preparing.
At least they’re there, which is something M.A. won’t have anymore. Instead, she’ll spend the years wondering what her daughter would look like, who her friends would be, what sport or instrument she’d be playing. Please pray for her and her family, and give your own family a hug. Because you can!